CFP: La Filosofia il Castello e la Torre - Ischia international Festival of Philosophy 2018

Submission deadline: May 1, 2018

Conference date(s):
September 27, 2018 - September 30, 2018

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Conference Venue:

Insophia, University of Palermo, University of Toronto - Missisauga
Ischia, Italy

Topic areas



La Filosofia, Il Castello e la Torre - Ischia International Festival of Philosophy 2018

Human Nature, IV Edition

22 - 30 September 2018

 The Association InSophia, in collaboration with the City of Ischia, the CRF – International Centre for Philosophical Research, the IZPH (Internazionales Zentrum für Philosophie – University of Bonn), the University of Toronto Mississauga (Visual Studies Department) and the Association NapoliFilosofica, and with the patronage of the City of Naples, the Circle “G. Sadoul”, the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies, the FISP (International Federation of Philosophical Societies) and the Department of Humanities at the University of Palermo, are delighted to announce the fourth edition of the International Festival of Philosophy “La Filosofia, il Castello e la Torre”, to be held between Naples and Ischia from the 22nd to the 30th of September 2018. The Festival’s main venues will be the Maschio Angioino in Naples, “Giardini La Mortella”, the Aragonian Castle and the Guevara Tower in Ischia.

 Call For Paper/Panels

“Human Nature” is an expression whose meaning appears today divided between the idea of a harmony that has to be preserved – maybe an ancient one – and another, more recent idea, of a tension to radicalize.

Over the last decade, if not longer, the concept of human nature, if not also the fact of it, has seemed to many philosophers and scholars in the humanities like something to be overcome. The human is understood to have proven itself – distinguished itself ontologically – as an offense to nature, so much so that we now regularly regard human effort as the distinguishing feature of periodization. That is, we are all now living – we hear – in the Anthropocene, in an era that is defined historically as a division in time, a division that nevertheless finds its origin in how we regard ourselves as human actors in the present.

One way of restating this scenario would be to say that the problem of other minds – of how it is that we can understand one another as we uniquely are – has been solved technologically; that is, by communicative technologies that now have a history which has been written as an unbroken string of solutions. To put matters in this way is also to tell ourselves not just that we can know each other – indeed, that we know what human nature is – but that we do know and that we have known what it is. After all, the problem of other minds has long involved a supposition of ontological difference, if not the correlation of ontology and epistemology itself. Therefore in knowing such things, we no longer see the human as something, someone, to be distinguished from things.

The contemporary zeal for object-oriented ontology, in which relationality and correlationism are understood as arrogant, delusional acts – not to mention our generally critical relation to the Anthropocene – is hard to distinguish from the fantasy of the human as something that has been sufficiently historicized. But if that is so, how will we understand the need that we face today to intervene in nature? To be not only a part of how nature is sustained, but also to be included in what is sustained in and as nature. How will we intervene in human nature, if what human nature implies is an understanding of the human as the being who attempts to dominate, and thus separate himself from, nature? If a human being is not, strictly speaking, subject to ocular proof, and if we regard the human as an extension of nature, then what could the seamlessness of history truly imply?

 To discuss the subject of human nature means to think again about the kinds of philosophical dilemmas that lie at the core of the history of thought: the dichotomies between soul and body, rationality and sensibility, nature and culture, man and god. Can one science consider the totality of our “being natural”? How is our activity on Earth shaping nature itself? It looks like our world is sending us signals of distress and danger. Nature is our mother and provides us nurture, but is also the realm of danger, and the dimension where our own existence is put into question.

Questions about cloning, digital death, artificial intelligence, transfer of consciousness and the uses of biomechanics are essential to these considerations, and they occupy a significant space in our cultural debates. The empowerment of our species seems to be a very important issue to explore if we hope to understand how future generations, in their own present position, can develop, and if they have to take distance from a “technological nature” which pushes them away from nature itself. We often consider technology as a synonym for intelligence and thus as a sign of our supremacy to other species that live on this earth. Technology has thus been substituted for the images of nature and God, and human beings seem to take this substitution as the only chance one has to save their future. Technology represents a nucleum of infinite possibilities to share. But can we manage all the problems we are facing through the advent of technology?

Can we think of progress in communications, medicine and artificial intelligence without considering a safe use of it? Will someone announce the death of technology as it happened for God? And will we need to imagine such a death for real progress?

If we consider philosophical currents as Posthumanism and Transhumanism, in which human being is portrayed as a hybrid, we must reconsider the ontological question: do we need to overcome limits of time and space and matter? Will human being reach a superior intelligence through biotechnology? How much does “our” nature, human nature, coincide with the totality of what we can call “natural”? And if there is no identity, how does nature’s resistance to our will to shape it manifest itself? How well can we understand the human position in the flux of nasci as a privileged one, at once from an ontological, epistemological and ethical point of view? What is our image of nature in general? What does it mean, today, to ask ourselves about the sense of “naturalism”? How does philosophy think about physis in our contemporary scenario, where what we call “physics” proceeds without any apparent need for philosophical support?

This edition of the Festival aims to maintain continuity with the previous topics – relations, values, and the nature and meaning of philosophy. This year, however, a particular accent will be put on the relationship between philosophy and natural sciences, and on the need to rethink the relation between humanities and so-called “hard sciences”.



This is the most purely theoretical section of the festival. Naturalism is a specific epistemological position, a way to understand the world and the way our mind relates to reality. In this section we accept papers dealing with the essence of human knowledge, the meaning of science and the relationship between man and world from a theoretical standpoint.

Scientific fields:

a)     Theoretical philosophy

b)    Epistemology and philosophy of science

c)     Gnoseology

d)    Theory of Interpretation

e)     History of Science


This section focuses on the notion of “human nature” as it figures in contemporary debates, placing particular emphasis on two notions that have been at the core of the discussion in recent decades. The contraposition between “posthuman” and the “transhumanist” movement creates a spectrum of theoretical positions that deal with the relationship between man and technology, nature and other animal species.

Scientific fields:

a)     Philosophical Anthropology

b)    Philosophy of Technology

c)     Philosophy of History

d)    Hermeneutics


This section deals with man’s relationship with other lifeforms, animal and vegetal. By promoting an effective exchange with biology and other sciences of life, this section welcomes papers dedicated to the problem of life, of speciesism and of the link between vegetal and cultural life.

Scientific fields:

a)     Philosophy of Biology

b)    Philosophy of Zoology

c)     Philosophy of Nature

d)    Aesthetics

e)     Phenomenology


This section focuses on the theme of the “border” as it pertains to the general topic of human nature. What is the relationship between human nature and conflict, limit and the essence of man? Can Human nature have geographical coordinates? The section welcomes papers that connect the theoretical side of the topic with concrete political problems of belonging, migration and identity.

Scientific fields:

a)     Political philosophy

b)    Theoretical philosophy

c)     Phenomenology

d)    History of migration

e)     Sociology


This section aims to dig deeper into the theme of natural life, focusing on the sexual dimension of such life as it speaks to the necessary relatedness of individuals. The papers in this section can focus on either the general theme of life, as motility and relation, or the specific topic of sex with regard to human identity, both natural and cultural.

Scientific fields:

a)     Theoretical philosophy

b)    Philosophy of Biology

c)     Epistemology

d)    Sociology

e)     Gender studies

f)     Political philosophy

g)     Psychology


The last section turns its focus to the problem of man from the point of view of nature, discussing the many images of humanity that have been produced in relation – or in opposition – to nature itself. Here we welcome papers dealing with the problem of human nature from the point of view of the history of art, but also papers dealing with the way man has produced and modified his own self-image in relation to technology over time, starting from a plastic relation to the natural world.

Scientific fields:

a)     Philosophy of Technology

b)    Aesthetics

c)     History of Art

d)    Philosophical Anthropology

e)     Media Theory


Languages: Italian, English

Please send proposals (maximum 1.000 words) and a brief biographical statement to or to: by 1 May 2018.

The biographical statement (maximum 10 lines) must be included in the body of the e-mail, in the document of the proposal or in a separated document. Please send all documents in .doc or .odt format. Please do not send files in .pdf format.

Every speaker will have 30 minutes (including 10 minutes for discussion). Presentations can be held in Italian or in English. It is also possible to propose a full panel: every panel will feature 3 or 4 presentations on a common theme. Every panel must also feature a leader, whose duty is to introduce and guide the discussion. For a panel proposal please send the abstracts of the single presentation and a brief introduction to the panel (maximum 200 words).

Proceedings will be published after a selection.

A registration fee will be required. Participants in the Festival will also have access to special rates and recommendations for guest accommodations during the whole week of the event.

For further information please contact the Scientific Director Raffaele Mirelli at mirelliraffaele@gmail.comor visit our website (

and Facebook page (@ischiafilosofest).


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